Oprah's Going Off The Air, But There's Still Time To Engage With Her

A couple of weeks ago, media business executives at an industry event were asked a usual industry question: What your favorite TV show?

United Talent Agency's Jay Sures took me by surprise when he said, "The Oprah Winfrey Show." It kind of shocked me because you'd expect big-time media executives to roll off the name of some high-brow broadcast network drama or HBO movie -- perhaps a comedy. But a talk show?

The other day I turned on "Oprah" kind of by mistake and there was the Octo-Mom, Nadya Suleman. She was in a middle of a rant about how she didn't want to get commercialized; she didn't want money from bigtime media and marketing executives; she didn't want to be on a TV reality show. She only wanted give her children the most normal life possible. She didn't mind driving around in a crappy car.



She was very passionate, to the point of crying. Suze Orman, Oprah's resident financial expert, was on the set, kind of stunned with this outpouring. The entire hour was devoted to Suleman and her crazy finances in trying to provide for some 14 kids.

Orman even suggested she do a "respectful" TV reality show to help get her out of debt. Finally, after Suleman was done, Oprah tapped her on her hand, held it, and said, reassuringly, "Now, that I believe."

I'm not too sure what went on before. But all this was a much different take on a TV personality I'd almost forgetten about -- a women made famous for having eight children after already having six children, all through in vitro.

What was the real truth about Octo-Mom? That really didn't matter. What mattered was this was indeed a different person than what news reports portrayed initially. So I watched.

Winfrey then went to a commercial break -- and, here comes the weird part -- I still remember a lot of the messages: Orman's new personal finance book, Dove, Target, Lipitor, and an ad for lap-band surgery. Strange as it sounds, I feel I paid more attention. It was the engagement marketers always talk about.

I was reminded that Winfrey can be intelligent and engaging when asking her "every woman"-like questions -- as well as being deeply personal. That's virtually everything you want in a talk show host.

Just in case you've been living in TV Siberia, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" will go off the air in September after 25 years. Take in an episode.

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